We’ve been back in Arizona for 36 hours and I’m thinking about Las Vegas. I was happy to leave the intensity of the town – not because it’s fake (as I had. Previously thought it to be) but because it is so wrenchingly real. We saw people lined up at a pawn shop for the length of a city block. We saw a lot of homeless people that look like you and me. We saw slot machines everywhere, including in the supermarket. We saw a bride walking down the street in full wedding dress, her groom beside her in jeans and a t-shirt. We saw a couple being married in a parking lot. We saw a cop put a shotgun into the trunk of his squad car, parked in front of the Little White Wedding Chapel. We saw two separate scenes of black men being handcuffed in the street. we saw people gambling at 7 am and tourists walking down the strip with drinks bigger than my head in plastic glasses shaped like cowboy boots, blenders and life sized footballs at every hour of the day. We saw passels of drunk girls and singular older men who could barely make it down the street. We saw a strategically placed sign reading, “cash your paycheck here” within steps of a bank of slot machines. We saw men posing with fake showgirls on the street. The one restaurant we found that wasn’t in the middle of a casino served meat loaf, spaghetti and meatballs, beef stew and home made pie. It doesn’t get more real than that. Ms. Vegas is a drag queen, her sparkling skirts lifted high, baring all.